July 14th 2015
Yes, yes, we’ve all heard that it can be useful to carry one’s passport at all times while traveling overseas. This isn’t really necessary in Israel, however, as there’s rarely any need to prove that you’re an international tourist.
But there are a few things that you may find useful to carry with you on your back – or, of you’re traveling with a group, then in a bag on your bus – so you can make the most of every day of your Israel tour journey. Here are our recommendations.
Plenty of Water
No matter the season, the Israeli sun is strong, and everyone is at greater risk of dehydrating than you might imagine. Stock up on a few of the bottles of water from the springs of northern Israel that are available simply everywhere, and then refill them with water from the filter or drinking fountain for some savings.
It’s not for nothing that many of the hottest mobile apps are developed in Israel. Even if you aren’t using your phone for calls, you’re likely to find any or all of the following useful: Waze (for traffic-aware driving instructions); Moovit (for real time public transportation schedules); weather updates (especially when storms are expected); restaurant recommendations and coupons; and other touring tips. Don’t forget a universal adapter so that you’ll be able to charge your phone using Israel’s round-holed 220-volt plugs.
Depending on your touring itinerary, you may want to spend your days carrying a change of clothes for your own comfort. If you walk through water or splash in icy Golan pools, you will want a dry option afterwards. If you clamber through the mud caves or the flour caves, you’ll want a clean option afterwards. And if you are visiting the holy sites, you will want to be modestly attired by the standards of the sites, so that the authorities don’t insist you borrow their wraps – bring a sweater or a shawl and long pants/skirt.
During the dead of a heat wave, this recommendation is unnecessary, but much of Israel is cool in the evening – think desert – no matter how high the temperature rises during the day. A similar concern is air conditioning – although not as prevalent as in the U.S., for example, A/C can prove a welcome contrast to the very warm outdoors… until it becomes too chilly.
No matter your personal level of religious involvement (or lack thereof), you are walking the land of the Bible, and just about everywhere you go, there is history under your feet. Find the biblical narratives that describe the same topography as your hike, and see where the biblical events purportedly took place – it’s all part of the charm of the Holy Land!